The Norwegian government and the United Nations Population Fund have distributed 9,000 solar radios to schoolgirls in the Yalmatu Deba, Funakaye and Kaltungo council areas of Gombe State.
Speaking during the presentation, the state Commissioner for Education, Dr Habu Dahiru, said the state had accepted the ‘safe space programme’ to encourage numeracy and literacy of the girl-child.
The commissioner said, “The Safe Spaces programme is important to develop the girl child into womanhood and in addition into literacy and numeracy. We will continue to support this cause to end malnutrition and gender violence, and promote the socio-economic wellbeing of our people.
“However, content and monitoring of programming is key in this part of the country. We must monitor the content of the programme to ensure that it is not in riot with our social and cultural norms. We appreciate the cohort given to the 9,000 girls and the capacity-building of our teachers, as well as the mentors.’’
Also, State Team Lead, Centre for Girls’ Education, Faith Bawa, said the Safe Spaces programme had built the agency of girls.
Bawa stated, “Through the episodes that have been recorded and some of the sessions that have been taught during the normal safe space before the schools were locked down, these girls will know how to negotiate, communicate and deploy decision-making skills. The students have interest in the programme and they will follow the radio programmes.”
On his part, Speaker of the state assembly, Ibrahim Abubakar, said the initiative would boost the confidence of young girls and increase learning.
He said, “We hope the children will benefit from the distribution of these transistor radios as well as improve availability of quality sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning for adolescent girls and women of reproductive age; and increase access to sexual reproductive health information and life skills for adolescent girls in selected LGAs in Gombe State.”
Chima Azubuike, PunchNG.